SAHARA Highlights: Jeffrey Klee and the Parallel Picture Plane

by By Jacqueline Spafford and Mark Hinchman, SAHARA Co-Editors | Apr 05, 2021

Jeffrey Klee was one of the founders of SAHARA. He was part of the original development committee that started in 2006, and he served as co-editor until 2020. This overlaps with his time as architectural historian at Colonial Williamsburg, from 2004 to 2020. He is now vice president and senior director of architecture at the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. As this month’s selections make clear, he is also an accomplished architectural photographer. Typically after picking a topic for highlights we seek diversity, of photographers, eras, geographic location and building types. In this group, we represent the totality of Klee’s contributions by looking at one formal aspect of his work: the photographic set-up in which the building subject lies parallel to the picture plane of the photographer’s camera. This is the type of architectural photography that most closely resembles a drawn elevation. Klee has contributed more than 1200 photographs to SAHARA. Elsewhere in SAHARA, users will find that he has also contributed interiors, exteriors, details, and materials. Klee has a number of focused interests, including public housing, 18th-century architecture, vernacular architecture, and a geographic concentration on Williamsburg, VA, and Washington, DC. His other contributions stem from travels in the United States, Jamaica, and the United Kingdom. He has made contributions of abandoned buildings whose dates he manages to track down. He has covered famous architects, here including John Nash and Charles Bulfinch. While his focus is historical architecture, he has also photographed 20th-century buildings. We greatly appreciate both his SAHARA photography contributions and his time as co-editor.

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Thomas Everard House in Williamsburg, Virginia
Anonymous, architect. Thomas Everard House. Williamsburg, Virginia, 1718. Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee. The historic house lies on Williamsburg’s central open space, the Palace Green.


Drayton Hall
Anonymous, architect. Drayton Hall. Charleston County, South Carolina, 1748. Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee. The building is set in an English style garden that fronts the Ashley River.


Moulton-Barrett House
Moulton-Barrett House, 7 Market Street. Falmouth, Cornwall, Jamaica, 1790s. Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee. Falmouth is the capital city of Jamaica’s Trelawny Parish.


Llanerchaeron House
John Nash. Llanerchaeron House. Ciliau-Aeron, Ceredigion, Wales, United Kingdom, 1794. Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee. The neoclassical architect of this manor house was also responsible for the over-the-top Royal Pavilion at Brighton, and the resolutely classical terrace housing at Regent Street.


Third Harrison Gray Otis House
Charles Bulfinch. Third Harrison Gray Otis House. Boston, Massachusetts, 1806. Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee. Bulfinch was a native-born American architect responsible for the US Capitol, the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Maine State House. This stately work of Georgian architecture sits at 45 Beacon Street.


21 Duke Street
Architect, anonymous. 21 Duke Street. Falmouth, Trelawny, Cornwall, Jamaica, early 1800s. Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee. Architectural photographers usually avoid people, but the appearance of this man on a bicycle was a stroke of serendipity that added scale and humanity.


Colony Hotel
Architect, anonymous. Colony Hotel. Bishop Hill, Illinois, 1852. Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee. One of several historic buildings in the small southern Illinois town that was founded by Swedish immigrants.


Langston Terrace in Washington, DC
Hilyard Robinston. Langston Terrace. Washington, DC, 1935–1938. Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee. Robinston traveled around Germany and Scandinavia before working on this public housing project, and his admiration for the Bauhaus and European modernism is evident.


Chandler Field, Administration Building
Anonymous, architect. Chandler Field, Administration Building. Fresno, California, 1936–1937. Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee. This is one of several W.P.A. buildings at the site.


College of William and Mary, Alan B. Miller Hall
Robert A.M. Stern. College of William and Mary, Alan B. Miller Hall. Williamsburg, Virginia, 2007–2009. Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee. While Stern is often referred to as a postmodernist, in this instance, he was creating within the parameters of Georgian architectural design, without irony.

Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
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Chicago, Illinois 60610